Compact video camcorders are the best thing since sliced bread. Well, maybe not - toasted bread and butter never gets old, really. But compact video cameras have definitely sparked a small revolution in how we make and think about video, almost as much as when the first consumer camcorders were released decades ago. With the advent of easily accessible and cheap High Definition (HD) video quality, the technology to make professional-looking videos is easier to use and available to more people than ever before.
The Flip UltraHD and the Creative Vado HD are two of the latest high-def video cameras to hit the market, and both are extremely portable and provide stunning video at a fraction of what it would’ve used to cost. So which camcorder is best for you, and are either of them clear winners? Let’s take a look at these two new and very sexy devices.
The Flip UltraHD is the Flip video camera with the highest specifications, including an 8 gigabyte hard drive, 1280x720p video resolution, and a 2-inch high-resolution screen for video playback and basic editing. So far, so good: Flip’s range of other camcorders also pack a punch, but the UltraHD is by far the most powerful and the most versatile. While we would’ve liked to see a larger aperture in the camcorder, the Flip UltraHD’s f/2.4 aperture still provides extremely acceptable low-light video shooting, making it a good choice for video capture in a lot of different environments. We would also have loved to have adjustable focus on the camera, but the fixed-focus lens still does the job extremely well, using the Flip’s autofocus system to focus on anything between 1.5m and “infinity” setting.
The camera has a weight of 6 ounces or just under 180 grams, and is about 4 by 2 inches in size, around the size of a wallet or slightly oversized cell phone. It’s extremely portable and will fit in any handbag or even purse, but we think it’s just a tiny bit bulky and could be cut down in later versions. What makes this camera really excel is its raft of user-friendly features like a basic editing suite and one of the easiest interfaces we’ve seen in a long time.
In short: Excellent video camera, but could be a little better.
Creative Vado HD 720p
What the Flip does...the Vado does better. It weighs in at 100 grams instead of 180; its screen has a higher resolution; it’s smaller yet has the same drive size, video resolution and framerate as its competitor. The Vado is actually almost half the size of the UltraHD, with the main problem about this being a higher likelihood of accidentally flushing it down the toilet. Not on purpose, of course: this device’s sleek black matte finish, crystal-clear screen and digital zoom make it a very respectable secondary camera for the professional videographer, and an excellent first port of call for amateur video-makers.
In short: Like the Flip, but superior or equal in every respect. A definite winner.
With both cameras functioning extremely well, it’s hard to dispute that the future of portable video is looking bright indeed. We’ve picked the Vado as the winner of two, but it’s hard to go wrong with either choice.